Lancaster County officials looking for car-tax evasion with new S.C. residents

Penalties for out-of-state tags

LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C (WBTV) - Since the 2010 Census, nearly 20,000 people are estimated to have moved to Lancaster County. County officials are now looking into how many of the new residents have registered their cars in South Carolina.

According to the Lancaster County Auditor Susan Hunter Wallace, her office is gathering information to ensure new residents are complying with property taxes related to their vehicles.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, new residents must pay property taxes on their car and transfer the title to South Carolina within 45 days of moving or operating the vehicle in South Carolina.

Hunter Wallace tells WBTV she isn’t sure if non-compliance is an issue in Lancaster County because they do not have a compliance officer to check on this. She says the last time they had a compliance officer was in 2017. She says there was not an issue then, but with more people moving to Lancaster County they want to make sure new residents are paying South Carolina taxes.

Hunter-Wallace says 70 percent of the tax revenue generated in Lancaster County goes to the school district. If residents are not paying property taxes on their car in South Carolina, then the school district will be shorted on tax dollars.

Hunter Wallace says residents can report residents who live in Lancaster County, but have out-of-state tags. She says they’ve also enlisted the help of the Sheriff’s Office to monitor license plate registrations.

Major Matt Shaw with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office says deputies are not going door to door to check on out-of-state tags but will investigate if they receive a tip of non-compliance.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, if a resident does not transfer their registration to South Carolina within 45 days, a late fee will be issued. Sixty days late will result in a $10 fee, 75 days late carries a $25 fee, 135 days late is a $50 fee, and more than 135 days late is a $75 fee.

There are exceptions for people who own a vacation home in South Carolina. For more information on who is required to get a South Carolina license plate click here.

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